An introductory note from the editor:
We started publishing US based regional and national lists in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators seeking advice regarding the "best" schools in the US. The US-centric lists have been well-received, so much so that we now receive frequent requests to publish rankings of international animation schools. ACR staff writer and social media manager Tom Fronczak managed and authored this year's Top 100 International Animation Schools rankings. In preparing this year’s list, we considered hundreds of animation schools across the globe. Our end-goal is to give students access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue.
The criteria for this list includes the following, in no particular order:
- Overall quality of program including technology and facilities available to students.
- Consistency and quality of student and graduate animation works.
- Geographic advantages derived from the school being located near animation employment hotspots.
- Reputation of program within the industry.
- Tuition and overall cost of attendance, while taken into consideration, are not a major influence in this ranking.
Like any list, ours is not perfect and is open for debate. There is no single opinion that trumps all when it comes to which school is the “best”. Ultimately every student has different needs regarding the type and academic rigor of a program, technology requirements, campus culture, as well as cost, lifestyle, and career focus. Our hope is that this list is a starting point for students to discover the schools that are the best fit for them.
100. Nanyang Technological University. 50 Nanyang Avenue Singapore.
Nanyang Technological University offers a four year degree for Digital Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Interactive Media, and Visual Communication. NTU also offers undergraduate scholarships and even reaches out to international exchange students as well as local exchange students. Be sure to look into their tuition information and financial assistance opportunities.
99. Frameboxx. Mumbai, India.
This school’s curriculum hasn’t kept up with the evolving entertainment industry as much as other schools on this list, but its degree programs still offer tried and tested courses in 3D animating, VFX, video editing, and compositing. One of its best perks is that it offers animation and visual effects programs that run from one month to over a year, so that you can customize your education to meet your needs.
98. Hongik University. Seoul, South Korea.
Known as most students by its “Hongdae” nickname, Hongik has a variety of options for students interested in the game or film industry. Their School of Games focuses on just the game industry software but also has students dabble in programming, which many students don’t wish to learn. If that’s you, then you should instead browse their College of Design & Arts which offers many degree specialties. For those more interested in the film industry, it also offers a Graduate School of Film & Digital Media.
97. Games Academy. Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany.
This school started in 2000 with the goal of being one of Germany’s first accredited colleges for game design degrees. They currently offer Game Art & Animation and Film Art & Animation, and its site has a PDF download for more details on each. Tuition for those two programs are €795 per month but their school also offers degrees in game design, game production, and game programming. Make sure you read their application rules before applying though!
96. Dun Laoghaire College of Art, Design and Technology. South County Dublin, Ireland.
I’ll be honest: this school’s BA (Honours) in Animation program is not for the student who wants a very focused degree. Instead, this school offers an array of education spread across several subjects and can prepare graduates enough for a career in any visual arts career path without having a clear cut mastery of any single branch. Because of that, this four year program is only €1,000 a year.
95. Camera Obscura School of Art. Tel Aviv, Israel.
The school itself was founded in 1978, but the animation department was formed in 1992 and was the first of its kind in the country! It has a four year animation program and spans traditional animation methods as well as today’s best software including Photoshop, Flash, Premiere, Maya, and After Effects. Fourth year students will be required to make an animated film so start planning now!
94. Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Jerusalem, Israel.
Its Screen-Based Arts Department helps students learn both film and animation procedures and you can look through pages and pages of course overviews for the classes that you can expect to take there. While they offer plenty of 3D animation classes, they do not have a focus on the game industry, but maybe your 3D animated short film could get added to their pages of award winners since 2006!
93. Nayzak Animation School. Cairo, Egypt
Many of Egypt’s animation schools have disbanded in recent years, and in their place sprung up Nayzak. This is a newer animation school and because of that it doesn’t have a large staff yet, but their courses are very straightforward. They have a single 2D degree, a single 3D degree, and several small specialization courses that they also offer students. Curriculum for all programs span topics including drawing, animating, concepts of character design, lighting, and other elements of design.
92. SAE Institute Vienna. Vienna, Austria.
The SAE chain of schools began with a single “School of Audio Engineering” in Australia that gained popularity quickly and expanded to various technology-based degrees before spreading to locations throughout dozens of countries around the world. SAE Vienna (SAE Wien) opened in 1987, but I’m convinced it hasn’t expanded and updated their curriculum as much as the other SAE Institutes have over the past decades. Its Digital Film & Animation degree looks like it only offers barebones crash courses on how to 3D animate in a single semester, and its Game Arts & 3D Animation degree looks comparable to many 3D animation programs from a decade ago. However, it is a two year degree program so that is a nice perk for potential students. Keep reading to see better SAE Institutes higher on this list.
91. 9Zeros. Barcelona, Spain.
With a name like that for a school, you know it’s got to be bold and hip with the times, right? It’s been open for over ten years and unlike many of the schools on this list it even offers classes and training in traditional 2D animation. It also covers 3D animation, stop motion animation, storyboarding, and every other class you’ll need to help start your animation career.